The rate of digital disruption has recently skyrocketed across every industry, helping accelerate global expansion and automating mundane, menial tasks. Coupled with this is the fact that as businesses grow globally, we have seen an alarming uptick in cybercrime. Because organizations have become increasingly digitalized, they are opening themselves up to threatening landscapes where their systems lay vulnerable to attack.
In fact, it’s estimated that worldwide cybercrime costs $600 billion a year, up from $500 billion in 2014. Over last few years, we have seen the scale of cyber attacks increase dramatically, with Capital One most recently suffering from a data breach that exposed 106 million people.
The Future of the Supply Chain report released in partnership with Censuswide revealed that new digital frontiers like cybercrime are posing the largest threat to supply chains, surpassing other critical challenges such as political uncertainty and trade wars. Below, I look at how organizations can address the challenges posed by cyber attacks.
Global expansion and the impact on supply chain safety
With cyber attacks continuing to present an increasing threat to all industries, it’s no surprise that 51% of US organizations did not believe their leadership understood all of the potential impacts of a cyber attack on their organization. Now, with 82% of US businesses looking to grow and expand further into new markets, the complexity of modern logistics will only increase, creating new paths of attack for cybercriminals.
Organizations often have interconnected, multi-layered global supply chains that can cover half the world with both digital and physical connections. In fact, over half (58%) of the organizations surveyed had five or more companies in their supply chain, with 14% having more than 50. With such a connected web, many organizations are forced to ask themselves how they can protect themselves from future threats.
Looking to others for a brighter future
Organizations can look to the past to try and understand the mistakes others have made that left them exposed to a cyber attack. Each breach from Maersk to Capital One, provides a blueprint for how cyber criminals may attack and what areas organizations need to shore up to best protect themselves. However, no company wants to be the victim that creates this blueprint for other organizations to follow.
Security technology is the go-to defense for any organization looking to protect itself. Nearly half (44%) of business decision makers indicated that state-of-the-art technology would be their first line of defense against future threats and security solutions are usually top of mind when organizations look at technology. However, although there is no doubt that having high level security technology is essential, is not they only way companies can gain the technological edge over attackers.
Connected planning technology was listed by 37% of respondents as an effective counter to cyber criminals. Connected planning platforms enable businesses to look at the entire supply chain and get a clearer understanding of their vulnerabilities, no matter how large and complex their supply chain is. Once organizations are able to have a view of where they are weak, they are then able to shore up weak points and develop actionable responses should they be attacked.
The need for visibility into supply chain processes
Part of the challenge in securing a complex supply chain is the plethora of different platforms utilized by the various partners and even departments involved within the supply chain. These various tools create countless potential entry points for hackers. To address this, organizations need to consider implementing a single connected planning platform across the entire supply chain, therefore reducing the attack surface and helping increase transparency at every level.
The other major concern organizations must consider when facing hackers is the speed at which attackers can gain access and do damage. According to a report from CrowdStrike, organizations may have less than 20 minutes to respond to an attack, due to attacker’s pace and sophistication. Therefore, any solution needs to be agile and able to react quickly. When implemented properly, connected planning provides an intuitive map of how decisions ripple through an organization giving decision makers the ability to quickly and efficiently harness the necessary data to formulate and modify plans.
If businesses want to act on their expansion ambitions, they need to have that ability to capture, analyze and act intelligently across their supply chains. This includes recognizing the threat of cyber attacks on global supply chains and using the correct resources to react to external events as they occur. Organizations need to prioritize the digitalization of planning processes in order to help manage complex networks.
Preparing for and putting in place clear plans to combat these events can have a dramatic effect on mitigating both the short- and long-term impact. As part of this, being able to model what-ifs, use data to respond in real-time and have transparency across the supply chain are all essential elements for any modern business to succeed.